Screwing Kids Up with Money

Strange title, I know. I’ll explain it in a minute.

First, check out the 99th Festival of Frugality over at Paid Twice. Lots of great posts, including one by yours truly.

My favorite post (of those I read) was “MP3 Players for Nine-Year-Olds?” at The Tao of Making Money. The author rants about the loss of simple pleasures and the invasion of technology in children’s lives. Definitely worth a read.

This type of discussion is important to me, especially since I have young kids. Just this past April, we ditched our TV, VCR, and DVD player. It’s one of the best choices we’ve ever made. Our kids have become far more creative without TV ruling their lives. They can play for hours without whining to us about being bored. And they don’t throw tantrums as often.

Most parents I meet like to say, “Oh, but my kids don’t watch that much TV.”

Oh, really?

Just count the hours. And be honest about it. An hour a day is 7 hours a week. That’s quite a bit. Most kids watch way more than that. And it doesn’t take much TV watching to turn a kid into an attention deficit mini-adult who demands Happy Meals, Chuck E. Cheese’s, and the latest fad toys.

The author’s specific beef is with iPods, especially those given to young children. I agree on this point. I find it pathetic that almost nobody can stand silence anymore. Most folks have to be plugged into something 24/7 just to make it through the day.

A month ago I saw the high school cross country team out on a run. Most (probably 80%) had iPods. You could see the tell-tale earbuds snaking down below the collar.

Blaise Pascal is credited with a quote I love. It goes like this: “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”

Pascal said that back in the 1600s. How much truer it is today.

Anyway, on with the carnival. Another post worth reading is, “I want it. You buy it. Any questions?” This one examines a common attitude that leads children down the “road to financial hell.” Worth reading.

Lastly, here’s a post by Matt Wolfe that shows you how to use language to get better pricing for certain products and services. Again, worth reading, especially if you’re getting ready to buy a car or diamond, or hire a painter.

Note: The topics of the first two posts I recommended are why I used the title I did for this post.

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